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BaKongo Ritual Mask

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Item 427
0.00 LBS

Product Description

The Kongo empire was one of the most dominate and renowned powers throughout precolonial Africa. By the end of the 16th century the empire was fragmented and weakened by internal struggles, external invasions and by the constant assault of slave dealers and traders. Today the Kongo are found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Congo Republic, Angola and Gabon. The Kongo decedents are divided into a great many subgroups notably the Woyo, Msundi, Yombe, Villi, Lemfu, Mpangu and Bwende. Every Kongo group has many cults and societies that revolve around their strong beliefs in supernatural forces and spirits of the dead. Their diverse ritual pieces are some of the most magically powerful and important art produced on the continent. The relations between the living and which lies beyond are harmonized by ancestral spirits, natural spirts (bakinda), local spirits (bisimbi) and ambivalent forces (minkisi). These supernatural entities are evoked by the village Nganga and elders. They are often asked to heal, to empower, to ensure success to bless and to protect individuals or the entire tribe. Magical substances or medicines called "bilongo": blood, hair, bones, feathers, earth, shells, fiber twine, clay, nails, seeds are used singularly or in combinations to empower ritual objects. The use of nails and blades usually denote a blood "promise" made to the tribe, king or ancestor by an individual or individuals. A promise that if broken results in death. Such magical-religious paraphernalia are normally found on statues, "fetishes" called Nkisi and Nkonde. Kongo masks are rare. They are only displayed during very important funerals, special initiation ceremonies and when judgement court is held. The exceedingly well crafted facial cover offered here has been well empowered with bird feathers, an earthen mixture, metal studding, worn kaolin, wood ash, bent nail work and blades. The mask is spiritually powerful and fully capable of judging. The facial features are natural and pronounce. This glorious mask is the epitome of and captures the essence of Congo magic!

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Dimensions: 13 inches long x 9 inches wide x 12 inches deep including the out crop of feathers. 

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